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EPA reconsiders recent Risk Management Program amendments

Delays compliance dates up to five years for certain provisions

Posted May 22, 2018

On May 17, 2018, EPA head Scott Pruitt signed the Risk Management Program (RMP) Reconsideration proposed rule. According to Pruitt, the proposed rule addresses potential security risks, emergency planning, and public information regarding chemical accidents. In addition, Pruitt says the action will save $88 million per year.

EPA’s RMP rule is similar in many ways to OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) standard. Both programs require facilities that have hazardous chemicals in processes to take steps to minimize the risks of catastrophic releases that can harm workers, the community, and the environment.

The new proposed rule would rescind or modify provisions in the January 2017 RMP Amendments rule. EPA claims the proposal will “reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens while maintaining consistency with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Process Safety Management standard.” The proposed rule also revises compliance dates for the modified RMP requirements to provide more time for agency programmatic changes and for regulated facilities to implement the new requirements.

EPA proposes to delay the rule’s compliance dates to one year after the effective date of a final rule for the emergency coordination provisions; four years after the effective date of a final rule for the emergency coordination provisions; four years after the effective date of a final rule for emergency exercises; two years after the effective date for the public meeting provision; and five years after the effective date of the final rule for the remaining risk management plan provisions that were added as the result of the Amendments rule or changed by the Reconsideration rule.

Under the proposed rule, owners and operators would still be required to have exercise plans and schedules meeting the RMP requirements in place within four years of the effective date of a final rule, but would have up to one additional year to perform their first notification drill; up to three additional years to conduct their first tabletop exercise; and no specified deadline for the first field exercise.

Interested parties may comment on the proposed rule for 60 days once it has been published in the Federal Register. EPA plans to hold a public hearing on the rule on June 14, 2018. Visit EPA’s website for more information on attending the hearing.

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